As an internationally recognized designer and performance artist, host of the enlightening YouTube channel “Studio Practice," and the Artist-in-Residence and Head of the 2D Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Elliott Earls has mastered the art of time management.
How do you structure your day? Your week?
I work a lot with grad student artists who tend to be vampires, so I’ve intentionally rotated my schedule very early in the day in order to carve out quiet, uninterrupted studio time. A very effective habit that I’ve developed is to wake early in order to get a “full studio day” in before the rest of my world is at it. I try to start my day in the studio between 4:30am and 7am depending on my work load. This allows me the quiet and solitude necessary for an effective studio practice, and frees my afternoons for business.
What’s a piece of advice regarding work that’s stuck with you?
Art is to the long, not necessarily the swift. I’ve been a runner for 40 years. The correlations between the life of the artist and the runner are strong. Stay absolutely dedicated to the pursuit of excellence over time. If you live long enough, any career is filled with ups and downs. No matter how difficult the road, stay dedicated to mastery and to the pursuit of uncompromised excellence. In this pursuit, time is a friend.
What’s one tip you’d like to share with aspiring creatives?
I believe it’s really important to involve yourself in deep thinking about your life and work in a structured and regular way. I guess you could call this a form of meditation. I would suggest taking a hard, critical look at your work. Then at regular and consistent intervals, meditate on how to address the issues raised. I maintain a comprehensive prècis (a diagram, a mind-map) of the challenges I face in my work. This process has really helped me gain clarity.